Almost everyone at some point in their career has found themselves working late. Finishing your workday on time can help you to be a happier and ultimately better employee. This isn’t to say that there aren’t occasions when staying late can’t be avoided, but there are things you can do to finish your work day on time. Here are five tips to help you work more efficiently.
Prioritize your tasks
At the start of the day scan your emails for important communications and leave the rest for later in the afternoon. Make a “to-do” list with high priority tasks planned for the beginning of your day. Focussing on the most urgent tasks first will ensure you get them done on time.
Break large tasks up
Dealing with the thought of a complicated or large task can feel overwhelming and lead to procrastination and working late. Break large tasks in smaller, more manageable ones. For instance, if you have a presentation due, focus on individual sections; at the end it will all come together.
Be realistic when estimating time
It’s important to give yourself an realistic estimated time for completion of projects. Underestimating your time will leave you struggling to get the project done, which can lead to stress in your attempts to complete it. Conversely, if you overestimate the time it will take to finish a task, it may lead to procrastination and delaying finishing other projects.
Using the Timeular Tracker can help you see exactly where your time goes. Its to-the-minute accuracy and rich analytics allow you to easily quantify how much time distractions cost and plan future projects with a higher degree of precision.
Learn to deal with interruptions
Interruptions cannot be avoided, but too many can have a significant impact on productivity. Interruptions can cause you to lose your enthusiasm about completing a task. It also can take some time to get back into a working rhythm, leading to frustration and more time needed to complete your work.
Determine what your most common types of interruptions are and develop a solution to control them. For instance, if you find yourself constantly checking your phone for new messages, put the phone in a drawer. In such a situation, out-of-sight may mean out-of-mind. Some things you can try to avoid interruptions may also include:
- Turn off all notifications for text messages, emails and instant messages
- Find a quiet area in the office to work
- Only check messages after completing a task
- Wear headphones to block out outside noise
Ask for help
It’s completely natural to think that you can handle all projects thrown your way, but in most situations, there are times when it isn’t feasible to do everything. The easiest way to learn to ask for help is by helping colleagues when possible; not only will you show that you are willing to offer a hand, but it will reduce your apprehensions about asking for help when you need it.
Sometimes the most important thing you can do when it comes to managing your time and getting work done is by learning to say no. It’s part of prioritizing what you need to do to get things done. Do not agree to any tasks that will interfere with your schedule.
Patrick Bailey is a writer in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.